Over the years, I’ve offered great advice on how to prepare for an interview, talk to recruiters, prepare your resume, grow your network, polish your branding, and how to land a job you’ll love. The effort doesn’t stop there, though.
Your job, reputation, and career need some basic effort to maintain and grow them…and there are some serious mistakes that can not only end your current job, but can put a dent in your career plans, too. Here’s a few of the worst mistakes and what you can do to avoid them!
Personal conflict. Allowing grudges, personal drama, or personality conflict to affect your work is a huge mistake. Is trouble brewing? Make the effort to resolve conflict, or at least rise above it. It won’t go unnoticed by your leadership, as the ability to collaborate effectively is a prized skill the higher you go.
Distance from management. If you’ve always felt more comfortable with your colleagues, and left some distance between you and your boss, now is the time to close that gap. You don’t need to grab a beer after work with your boss, but you should be comfortable having a conversation and he or she should know you as a person, not just an employee. Cultivate a relationship with your manager, and make the effort to be known to their managers, too. Your superiors are important tools for guiding and growing your career, and navigating on-the-job issues. Strengthen those connections so they’re ready when you need them.
Disrespect. I cannot put it more simply than this: No one wants to work with a jerk. You can be an industry expert, but if no one wants to work or have a conversation with you, you’re likely to lose your job and have difficulty overcoming an unpleasant reputation. Invite other solutions, you may learn something new. Invite collaboration, and support your colleagues by teaching, mentoring, and working with them. Announcing a mistake or mocking a poor solution puts the brakes on innovation. However, adding your expertise in a respectful, supportive way is always welcome and encourages everyone’s efforts.
Boundaries. It’s fine to make friends at work, but never mix romance or bad habits with work friends. Do the Pros and Cons of mixing the intensely personal with the professional: We’ve all heard stories of great marriages that began at work that would go in the “Pro” column, but for every perfect match there are dozens (if not hundreds) of break-up stories or harassment lawsuits in the “Cons” column. It’s just bad form to mix the private with the professional. And if you have bad habits (drinking to excess, recreational drugs) do not indulge around work friends or at the company Christmas party.
Career management. Don’t leave your professional growth up to your boss. Take charge of your career and treat it like the most important job you have. This one won’t end your current job, but it can stagnate your career growth and leave you behind your professional peers…and cost you thousands, if not millions, in salary over a lifetime.